What makes a good, healthy breakfast for kids?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 Leave a Comment

I spent a summer in the middle east and ate the most wonderful breakfasts every day: creamy chickpea hummus served with soft, chewy pita bread -- nothing at all like the hard, flavorless frisbees that pass for pitas in our grocery stores; fresh delicious figs just picked from the tree; green grapes from the vine; fresh cucumber, tomato and onion salads, tart yogurt -- nothing at all like the sugar-laden Yoplaits my kids like (27 grams of sugar in the berry flavors -- a Coke has 40 grams!).

In Norway, breakfast was a spread of smoked salmon, bread, hard-boiled eggs, Jarlsburg cheese, potato lefske bread, smoked herring in sour cream, pickled vegetables. The kids spread their bread with a nutty, brown soft cheese. And sometimes even Nutella, the hazelnut cocoa spread.

When Jamie Oliver complained about American kids eating pizza for breakfast, it got me thinking: what is the ideal healthy breakfast for kids?

It's a daily battle just to get my 4 year old to eat breakfast at all. It's usually cinnamon toast and milk. Yogurt or a banana if I'm lucky. I think of these breakfasts from two very different cultures, and they have two things in common: protein and vegetables.

Since I'm giving up gluten, breakfast is a hard meal for me, too. Without my beloved bread, I'm left with fruit, and that's too much sugar, and I crash by mid-morning. I learned the hard way that I must have protein in the morning. Eggs are good for me, but my boy doesn't like them.

This morning French toast fooled him into eating some eggs.

What do your kids eat? I'd be curious to hear from teachers how sugary breakfasts affect kids at school.

See:
- MyPyramid.gov
-10 healthy kid's breakfasts, via Better Homes & Gardens

5 comments »

  • Anonymous said:  

    My 3yo has a peanut butter sandwich most mornings. Not the healthiest thing out there, but at least it's high in protein and quick to make!

  • Ashley said:  

    all three of my young daughters love breakfasts of good cheese, salami,tomatoes and sometimes fruit and a little bread...they would eat it for every meal and I would too:)

  • Amanda said:  

    My kids and I are lactose intolerant, so yogurt and cheeses are out for us. We stick with oatmeal with raisins or grape nuts (my 4yr old loves it with cinnamon). The baby can eat the oatmeal and gets a banana too. We sometimes do natural peanut or almond butter on bananas - super yummy and pretty healthy.

  • Anonymous said:  

    oatmeal almost everyday (can be a great place for some chopped hard boiled egg if you are trying to sneak even more protein - odd yes, i don't like it, but my husband has egg in his cereal or oatmeal, so the kids have started the habit too), nuts, some fruit. my gluten-free friend has chicken sausage, almonds, & vegetables most mornings.

  • Liz said:  

    Ah, yes, I'll have to try salami or pepperoni -- my boy LOVES those. Thanks for these good suggestions!